AIDS and behavior 2017 04 27() doi 10.1007/s10461-017-1775-9
Among persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), approximately two-thirds report moderate to severe pain. Chronic pain can negatively affect PLHIVs’ health behaviors and outcomes by interfering with their reciprocity (mutual exchange) of support in their caregiving relationships, which has been found to be associated with PLHIVs’ antiretroviral adherence and viral suppression. Data were longitudinal (baseline, 6- and 12-month follow-up) from 383 PLHIV who were formerly or currently using drugs. Utilizing a longitudinal lagged fixed effects structural equation model, we found that never having pain in the past 6 months was predictive of increased reciprocity of support. Sub-analyses by care relationship type revealed never having pain was a significant predictor of greater reciprocity for sexual partner caregiving dyads, but not for kin or friend caregiving dyads. Our study emphasizes the importance of pain management in quality caregiving relationships characterized by reciprocity, which has consistently been found to be associated with stronger, more supportive caregiving relationships and better quality of life. Our findings suggest the importance of pain management intervention for improving reciprocity between vulnerable PLHIVs and their primary caregivers, especially between PLHIVs and caregivers who are current or former sexual partners.